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What are the Grounds for Divorce in New York?

by Seth Azria on 5/02/2019

There are Seven grounds for Divorce in New York State. 

1. No Fault

The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.  With the addition of this no-fault ground for divorce in October 2010, parties may now be granted a divorce upon the sworn statement of one of the parties thereby eliminating the need to allege and prove one of the grounds listed below.  Divorce has become much easier in New York. However, the court will not grant a divorce on these grounds unless and until the economic issues of equitable distribution of marital property, the payment or waiver of spousal support, the payment of child support, the payment of counsel and experts’ fees and expenses as well as the custody and visitation with any children of the marriage have been resolved by the parties, or determined by the court and incorporated into the judgment of divorce.

2. Abandonment

The abandonment of the plaintiff by the defendant for a period of one or more years. Essentially you and your spouse have not lived together for at least one year.

3. Cruel & Inhuman Treatment

The cruel and inhuman treatment of the plaintiff by the defendant such that the conduct of the defendant so endangers the physical or mental well being of the plaintiff as renders it unsafe or improper for the plaintiff to cohabit with the defendant. To use this ground, the plaintiff  will need to specify exact dates, places and details of the cruel & inhuman treatment. 

4. Sexual abandonment

The plaintiff has not had sex with you the defendant for at least one year.

5. Separation agreement

The Plaintiff and Defendant have lived apart for at least one year and have a judgment of separation or written and filed separation agreement.

6. Adultery

The commission of an act of adultery, defined as the commission of an act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct, voluntarily performed by the defendant, with a person other than the plaintiff after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant. To prove this ground,  the plaintiff will need the testimony of a witness to the adultery EVEN WITH your spouse's admission, and only if it has been less than 5 years since you found out. This ground is cumbersome and costly as compared to the other grounds and especially in light of the no-fault option.

7. Imprisonment

The confinement of the defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant.(your spouse has been imprisoned for at least three [3] consecutive years after you were married)

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